Remember when Hillary Clinton wrote the book, It Takes a Village? The title came from an African saying, meaning that when a child comes into the world it is not just the parents who help raise and form the child. There is a network of extended family and friends who have a hand in loving and guiding that child into adulthood.
I came to my marriage without children. I had cats. And I’ve always felt children were for people who couldn’t have cats, frankly speaking. AP came to the marriage with two young boys, each so different from the other and both with their challenges.
My two step sons are now in their adolescent/young adulthood stage of life. Both boys are on the verge of new beginnings: one will soon be leaving university and the other will soon be starting. Both are anxious about their futures and are finding the transition to be daunting, as most transitions are.
When sharing my anxieties about these two young individuals to my two friends, Diana (the school headmistress) and Debbie Pask (of Pask Partnership), they sat back, folded their arms across their chest and said, “Oh I can help them!! Bring them to me.”
Diana met with the younger, Debbie with the older, and each spent valuable time talking to them and counselling and coaching them on time management, organisation, confidence building, and job searching. When Tall Boy the Younger walked away from Diana’s house, he held in his hands assessment forms and a study plan. He also had a smile on his face and said, “Yeah! That was kind of good.” When asked if he would be willing to meet with her again he said, “Sure!” You could have knocked me over with a feather.
When Tall Boy the Elder met with my friend, Debbie, he walked away with a better CV, a better sense of who he was, and where he was going. When I dropped him off at her office he was feeling anxious and a little low. I collected a different young man. He was upbeat and excited and on the drive back home he was making plans for his upcoming job search and career.
Well slap my face and call me Sally.
It takes a village to raise a child, indeed.
And I have great friends. Seriously.